Small Business Video Editing: Pinnacle Studio 14 Review

Video editing can be an intimidating and time-consuming process for many small business owners, but Pinnacle Studio 14, by Avid Technology, makes it relatively easy.  This video editing and production tool is aimed at the consumer market, but I found it ideal for most of my business needs.

Pinnacle comes with cool features:

  • User-friendly video capture and edit process.
  • Multiple ways to export your final video; including a direct to YouTube option, to an iPod format, even export to a Wii or Xbox.
  • You can burn directly to a DVD or Blu-ray (if you have the right hardware, of course).
  • You can add Dolby Digital surround sound for the audio buffs out there.
  • It also comes with Red Giant, an effects suite, which are some of the same special effects you see in mainstream movies.

However, what most small business owners want is the basics and just a few advanced features.  Most of us have no intention of becoming video professionals.  We just want it to work, and work fast.  Then we want the software to help us upload video to our website. Pinnacle Studio 14 makes all this very do-able with a pretty short learning curve.

But let me be clear: there is a learning curve to any video editing program. The good thing is that Pinnacle has a robust community with support forums.

What I (really) liked:

  • Create a Smart Movie: This is one option from the Toolbox and it rocks.  It lets you pick the options you want from the introduction to the transitions from one scene to the next to the ending credits.  You just pick the photos, the video clips, the music, the ready-made transition (fade to black, screen wipe left, etc) and hit “Create a Smart Movie” and it produces it for you.  The ending result is a finished video with music. It simply guides you through.  Screenshot below of edit screen.

  • Music: In the Ultimate Collection pack, it comes with Scorefitter which is a collection of royalty-free music and sounds you can use in your productions. You can buy additional royalty-free libraries of music and sounds, if you choose. Having music and sounds available is terrific and takes away the worry of “will I get in trouble for using this?” copyright questions.

The program offers lots of ways to save your video including a direct-to-YouTube option. You enter your username and password once and after that you can upload your results directly, saving some additional steps and, of course, time.

Video uses by small business that I’ve seen on the Web:

  • Real estate sales: doing a real-time walk-through of a home.
  • Wedding and event videographers who want to add custom services to their work.
  • Used car lots for showing specific cars for sale online – mini commercials to draw prospects on to the sales lot.
  • Physicians demonstrating procedures to other physicians.
  • A pet shop showing individual animals and their cute antics.

What I didn’t like:

The Red Giant Effects option didn’t work on my machine and a small window would open saying something like “Magic Bullet” didn’t load. Check your Graphics Card.”  This would then cause the program to stop loading, but would resume after I clicked the continue button.   It could be my machine or Windows 7 or one of a dozen potential problems, to be fair.

Who is it best for?

Small business owners in any industry would find this software useful for making tiny or even significant edits to their first video efforts.  Overall, for the money, it is one of the best solutions out there in video editing.  The industry-leading professional editing solution is also made by Avid Technology, so you can get a taste of a fully loaded video editing software would be like with Pinnacle Studio 14.  The regular version starts around $50, going up to $130 for the Studio Ultimate Collection (the highest version).

I tested Pinnacle on a Lenovo A70z all-in-one desktop with the ioSafe 500GB hard drive (full review here) to test the speed at which it would crunch and save.  Both did exceptionally well — better than my laptop.

Learn more about Pinnacle Studio 14.